U.K. on U.S. Streamers: New Media Bill To Regulate Streaming Giants
The United Kingdom's Department of Culture, Media, and Sports has recently unveiled the draft of a media bill that will give Ofcom (the Office of Communications) regulatory power over streaming platforms. The bill is intended to modernize previous media legislation, which was last updated in 2003 with the Communication Act. Under this bill, Ofcom will be able to regulate streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+, by enforcing their standards to protect audiences from harmful material. The bill also supports public broadcasters by ensuring their future in this fast-changing industry, making sure they will be easily available and discoverable on smart TVs, on-demand services, and streaming devices. Additionally, the bill allows broadcaster Channel 4 to enter the world of content production by creating a new legal requirement for the board to ensure its sustainability. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer says that this new bill aims to level the playing field by requiring local broadcasters and streaming giants to meet quality standards. Frazer went on to say, “Our Bill will give these brilliant broadcasters and our legendary radio industry the tools to keep doing what they do best - nurturing the creative talent and skills that fuel the U.K.’s booming production industry, whilst making outstanding shows that we can all enjoy.” This new legislation hopes to help the U.K. maintain its strong media industry, and the bill will be introduced as soon as Parliament allows.
Films of Hollywood: The Industry Goes Beyond Blockbusters
Many people in the film industry are reminiscing about a time when the box office showcased a good mix of blockbusters and mid-budget titles, such as rom-coms and adult comedies. These industry insiders are not just feeling nostalgic; they also understand that these types of movies help boost business. By creating a diverse slate of movies, going to the theater can become a habit for audiences, rather than a one-off event. The last few months have shown the importance of having smaller thrillers and horror films in theaters alongside spectacle films. Franchise movies like John Wick: Chapter 4 and Creed III, which both performed well, may seem like giants now, but the films that spawned them had relatively small budgets. Advisors believe that the film industry should take risks on new original content, as they have a lower budget to start but could bloom into great intellectual property franchises. Many of the practices that allowed mid-sized films to thrive, such as having multiple defined release windows, are no longer in place. With streaming businesses putting out a plethora of content, each with its own short marketing push, it makes it difficult for individual films to have a big impact. However, some of these pandemic streaming practices are going away, and tech giants like Amazon and Apple are both embracing the traditional theatrical release model. Recent mid-budget films, like 80 for Brady and Cocaine Bear, are paving the way forward by successfully targeting specific audiences with great marketing to back them up. Additionally, with festivals such as Sundance discovering new independent films, the film market can succeed by continuing to identify and invest in upcoming indie talent.
South Central States on Screen: Texas Enters the World of Film Incentives
In 2022, American states such as New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma earned over $1.5 billion from film and TV productions. These states have become popular filming destinations due to their resemblance to Texas. Productions such as Hell or High Water and Walker: Independence were filmed in New Mexico to take advantage of both its Texas-like scenery and production tax credits. Texas, once a prime location for filmmakers, is trying to regain its position in the film industry. A new bill was proposed on March 7 that would supplement the existing grant with an uncapped program focusing on projects with budgets of at least $15 million. If approved, this bill could make Texas a new hot spot for filming. New Mexico has experienced great success in recent years, attracting high-profile productions such as Breaking Bad and Stranger Things through its refundable tax credit program of 25% to 35%. The state has also proposed a bill to boost production in rural areas by doubling the uplift and raising the program's overall cap. Several studios have built production facilities in New Mexico, committing to production in the area. Although Oklahoma and Louisiana have also received attention from productions due to their programs, Georgia is Texas' biggest competitor. Nevertheless, there has been growing interest in filming within the state. Productions such as Yellowstone have generated interest in filming in the region, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick hopes to work with showrunner Taylor Sheridan to move all his productions to the state.
Cannes and TikTok: A Continued Partnership
The Cannes Film Festival partnered with the TikTok app last year for its short film competition, and the two have renewed their partnership for a second time. Although the first collaboration was rocky, Delegate General Thierry Frémaux stated that it still promoted strong human connections and helped the festival reach younger audiences. However, TikTok is facing global scrutiny as countries consider banning it over security concerns. France recently joined the list of concerned countries who have banned the app on government devices. Despite this, TikTok remains one of a dozen official partners of the Cannes festival. Last year, the short film competition encountered a setback when French-Cambodian documentarian Rithy Panh, president of the jury, resigned due to discrepancies with the app. He returned days later after being assured that the jury's decisions would be respected. This year, all TikTok creators can enter the competition by using the hashtag #TikTokShortFilm and filling out an official entry form. The 40 TikTok videos with the best engagement and views will enter the competition, and the jury will select three winners to be invited to the Cannes festival in May. In the U.S., lawmakers are questioning TikTok over concerns about the data collected from users by its parent company, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing. Despite this, 150 million people access the app each month, according to figures released by TikTok's European operations in February. The popular app is creating new partnerships with other European entities, including the Eurovision Song Contest and the upcoming Salon du Livre in Paris.
Advertising Slam Dunk: Why Sports Ads Are Thriving
In several areas, advertising marketing has experienced a downturn, but the sports market is still standing strong. Just last month, Fox's Super Bowl sold 30-second ads for over $7 million, proving that sports advertising has not lost its desirability. More recently, the NCAA March Madness men's basketball tournament brought in an estimated $1.2 million in ad revenue, an 8% increase from the previous year. John Bogusz, the executive VP of CBS Sports advertising for Paramount, says, “The sports dollars continue to be, I would say, relatively consistent each year with the advertisers that have these tentpole events that they participate in.” While some sports events, like March Madness, benefit from seasonality as spring advertisers are eager to get their name out, overall, advertising in this sector remains a safe bet for brands. For example, the 2022 World Cup, which took place during the winter, created ad growth for NBCUniversal and Fox, while all other networks were down. One reason why sports ads always seem to deliver is that the content has a meaningful audience. Due to the live nature of sports, audiences tend to be large, and ratings remain high because of passionate sports fans. Now that the NFL season is over, many other sports opportunities lie ahead. The NBA and NHL seasons are currently in high gear, and the MLB is about to kick into high gear, so networks will have a steady stream of income over the summer. Thanks to the loyalty and dedication of fans, even sports events that have been overlooked in the past are starting to get attention. Advertising for the women's NCAA basketball tournament on ESPN is completely sold out, with more than a hundred advertisers, including some high-profile brands participating for the first time.
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